Today marks the 8th anniversary of when I became a Christian. It seems so long ago and yet it also feels like it was last week. We were getting ready to leave for China and I found myself questioning what would happen to me if the plane went down. I had been raised in a Christian family since I was young but I had never made it my own. Yes, part of that decision was a fear of Hell, something I would not base my decision on now. But that’s what happens when you are attending an Evangelical church. Sinners in the Hands of An Angry Baptist.

I became very involved with my church. I sang in the choir, ushered, did nursery and Sunday school, attended youth group and Bible studies. I went through the 5 Aspects study with my Babes. 🙂 Then I went to Liberty where I was told that if I didn’t vote for George Bush, then I probably wasn’t really a Christian. Where every “sermon” Jerry Falwell gave began with “One man with one woman for one lifetime.” Where I was treated as guilty until proven innocent and couldn’t make decisions as simple as whether or not to make my bed for the day. And I began to wonder if this was really what Jesus came for. And if it was, did I really want any part of it?

I came home and fell into Teknon, almost by accident. But I know now that there was no accident. It was God’s way of saving me. While my former church has it’s good points, I do believe that I would have died spiritually if I had stayed there. The best decision I ever made was to follow Shane when he started his church.

The Dwelling Place is not perfect. We are small. We don’t have many programs. Sunday mornings don’t go off without a hitch. People leave. But that community of people have saved me time and again. I don’t think they realize the impact they have had on my life. When my entire paradigm was turned upside down. When I was struggling with forgiving the man who abused me. When I needed love and acceptance that I couldn’t find anywhere else. And more recently, when I felt abandoned by God. When I couldn’t hear or feel Him. These people are the continuous representation of Jesus to me. They are why I am still a Christian. They are why I have made it for 8 years.

To my church family: I know I don’t always show it or say it, but I deeply love each and every one of you. Continue to be little Christs. If you have half the impact on the world that you have had on me, the results will be phenomenal.